Free Sunday NFL Football Pick
Click here to access Today’s Premium Pick
The top matchup on Sunday’s late afternoon schedule on CBS pits the 9-4 New England Patriots against the 7-5-1 Pittsburgh Steelers in a key AFC clash. Kickoff at Heinz Field is set for 4:25 p.m.
The Patriots were just one play away from clinching their 10th-straight AFC East Division title before Miami miraculously pulled off a last-second touchdown to hand New England a stunning 34-33 loss as a nine-point road favorite. At 9-4 straight-up with an 8-5 record against the spread, it still has a two-game lead over the Dolphins with three games to play. The Patriots fell to 3-4 ATS on the road this season.
New England is still on course to win its division and possibly secure a first round bye in the playoffs, but there are some cracks in the foundation on defense that could prevent a third-straight appearance in the Super Bowl out of the AFC. In seven previous road games this season, this unit has allowed an average 25 points a game as opposed to an average of 22.5 points across all of New England’s games. With last Sunday’s loss, the Patriots have given up 30 points or more five times this season.
Pittsburgh still has a half-game lead over Baltimore in the race for the AFC North title, but it has lost its last three games both SU and ATS closing as a favorite with BetAnySports in all three contests. Losing to Oakland 24-21 in Week 14 as a 10-point road favorite was the low point in this current slide. The Steelers are an even 6-6-1 ATS with an even 3-3 record ATS at home. They have been able to cover in all three games this season closing as underdogs.
Running back James Connor missed last week’s game against Oakland due to a foot injury and he remains questionable for Sunday. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger missed some playing time against the Raiders with a rib injury, but he is listed as probable on the latest team report. Regardless of who plays or who sits for Pittsburgh, it is going to have to do a much better job in every phase of the game to halt its current slide.
The Patriots have won five of their last six road games against Pittsburgh and I am betting that they make it six out of seven on Sunday while covering the 1.5-point spread.